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Linux on Compaq Armada 1750

On this page you will a find a short guide on how to use Linux on a Compaq Armada 1750 laptop.
I wrote it so others don't have to collect all the information from many different sources in the internet (as I had to).

All comments, suggestions etc. are welcome. Please contact me at



This was the topic I had most problems finding information and working instructions on.

First you should check that the sound-device is activated at all in the 'BIOS'.

Boot from the Setup-Disk which you can download from Compaq's homepage. ([direct link] / - Software & Driver Downloads -- Search for armada 1750 -- select your model)
Once the 'BIOS' is installed on harddisk, you can enter it by pressing F10 when you see the cursor blinking in the upper right corner of the screen. You have only a few seconds time, so be quick.

I read somewhere on the net that one can reset the 'BIOS'-Settings by pressing Fn+F11 at boot-time so the laptop boots from floppy disk again if this was disabled before. Fortunately I never had to test this. ;-)

Enter the Compaq-Setup-Utility.
Goto Audio - ESS 1869 Plug and Play Audio Drive
Configure the Resources like this:

Interrupt request number 5
Direct Memory Access Channel 0
Direct Memory Access Channel 1
Input/Output range 0x0220 - 0x022F
Input/Output range 0x0388 - 0x038B
Input/Output range 0x0330 - 0x0331

Make sure there are no Conflicts listed below.

In System Features - System Management disable ACPI. IMO ACPI only causes problems. With ACPI deactivated even APM suspend to RAM works (more or less).

For kernel 2.6.x with ALSA

In the kernel you need ALSA-Support and the ES688 / ES1688 ESS AudioDrive module.


Use alsamixer to unmute the necessary channels

Use aplay to play a soundfile (here this doesn't work yet).

esd can be loaded, too

For kernel 2.4.x with OSS

In the kernel you need sound-Support (sound.o, soundcore.o) and the Soundblaster-module (sb.o)

Run sndconfig (the card is not detected automatically) and select manually ESS1688 AudioDrive
If you use Debian, run update-modules.

In /etc/modules.conf (in Debian: /etc/modutils/sndconfig and /etc/modules.conf) you will find the following lines (of course you can insert them by hand without using sndconfig).

alias sound-slot-0 sb
options sound dmabuf=1
alias synth0 opl3
options opl3 io=0x388
options sb io=0x220 irq=5 dma=0 mpu_io=0x330

The following two lines are not necessary, if you don't need the mixer or load the settings in any other way.

post-install sound-slot-0 /bin/aumix -f /etc/.aumixrc -L >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
pre-remove sound-slot-0 /bin/aumix -f /etc/.aumixrc -S >/dev/null 2>&1 || :

Load the sound-modules, fire up xmms and enjoy the wonderful sound. The sound-quality of those two small speakers is really amazing.


This is the .config-file of my 2.4.28 kernel.

This is the .config-file of my kernel.


This is my XF86Config-4.
As a pointer-device I use the PS2-device, not gpm, because gpm often runs amok and I don't lose any functionality because there is no third mousebutton.

The display is switched off by DPMS when the lid is closed. Go to a virtual console and run chvt 7 && xset dpms force on -display :0 to switch it back on.
I tried to use one of the One-Touch-Buttons and hotkeys to do this but it didn't work (see hotkeys). If you manage to automate the waking up of the display, please send me an e-mail.

Section "Files"
    FontPath    "/usr/share/fonts/truetype"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/CID"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi"
    FontPath    "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"

Section "Module"
    Load    "GLcore"
    Load    "bitmap"
    Load    "dbe"
    Load    "ddc"
    Load    "dri"
    Load    "extmod"
    Load    "freetype"
    Load    "glx"
    Load    "int10"
    Load    "record"
    Load    "speedo"
    Load    "type1"
    Load    "vbe"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier    "Generic Keyboard"
    Driver        "keyboard"
    Option        "CoreKeyboard"
    Option        "XkbRules"    "xfree86"
    Option        "XkbModel"    "pc105"
    Option        "XkbLayout"    "de"
    Option        "XkbVariant"    "nodeadkeys"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier    "Touchpad"
    Driver        "mouse"
    Option        "CorePointer"
    Option        "Device"        "/dev/psaux"
    Option        "Protocol"        "PS/2"
    Option        "Emulate3Buttons"    "true"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "Logitech USB"
    Driver      "mouse"
    Option      "SendCoreEvents"    "true"
    Option      "Buttons" "8"
    Option      "Protocol"      "ExplorerPS/2"
    Option      "Device"        "/dev/input/mice"
    Option      "ZAxisMapping"      "4 5"

Section "Device"
    Identifier    "ATI Rage"
    Driver        "ati"
    BusID         "PCI:01:00:0"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier    "Display"
    HorizSync     28-49
    VertRefresh   43-72
    Option        "DPMS"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier    "Default Screen"
    Device        "ATI Rage"
    Monitor       "Display"
    DefaultDepth  24
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth        1
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth        4
        Modes        "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth        8
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth        15
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth        16
        Modes        "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth        24
        Modes        "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier    "Default Layout"
    Screen        "Default Screen"
    InputDevice    "Generic Keyboard"
    InputDevice    "Touchpad"
    InputDevice    "Logitech USB"

Section "DRI"
    Mode    0666


To use the 4 silver Buttons you need a program called hotkeys.

Install hotkeys (apt-get install hotkeys or download it from

Copy the definition-file armada1750.def to /usr/share/hotkeys/.

Run it from the command-line or via ~/.xinitrc or ~/.xsessionrc each time you start the X-Server.

Add to/Modify /etc/hotkeys.conf:

NB: the third key (keycode 113) interferes with the AltGr-Key, so each time the AltGr-Key is pressed it is recognized as keycode 113 and the corresponding program is being started. Since I need the AltGr-Key I disabled this keycode.
The same problem exists with the right Control-Key and keycode 109 but I rather want to use the first Hotkey than the right Control-Key (and btw, to start an Eterm by pressing the right Control-Key is very comfortable :-) )
This is affected by the Xkb-Settings of the X-Server, so you can perhaps find a better solution for your needs by playing around a bit with XkbModel and XkbVariant.

Infrared SIR/FIR


With ACPI disabled (and APM-Support in the kernel) I can activate an APM-Mode by pressing the oval button in the middle of the keyboard. I suppose the laptop enters the suspend-to-RAM-state.
When waking up again I have to unload and load again the module for my network card, then I have to bring the interface up again.
See below my scripts doing all the APM stuff.

If you use gpm you would have to restart it several times in order not to make it run amok. That's one of the reasons why I am not using gpm on this laptop.

---- /etc/apm/suspend.d/everything ----

# switch from the X-server to a text-console

chvt 1

# if the X-server display is active when suspendig or shutting the display it
# can only be woken up with 'xset dpms force on' by a User who is logged in via
# ssh
# for that the X-server display has to be active and the DISPLAY-variable set
# to ':0' (or whatever number the X-display is)

# Stop the PCMCIA-subsystem
/etc/init.d/pcmcia stop

---- /etc/apm/suspend.d/everything ----

My PCMCIA-Card needs the modules removed and reloaded by hand.

With other cards it should be enough to take out the card before resuming and to plug in the PCMCIA-cards after the pcmcia restart (this works eg with my WLAN-card perfectly well).

---- /etc/apm/resume.d/everything ----
/sbin/rmmod 8139too
/sbin/rmmod mii
/sbin/rmmod crc32
/etc/init.d/pcmcia restart
/sbin/rmmod 8139too
echo "Insert PCMCIA now!" > /dev/console
sleep 3
echo "3" > /dev/console
sleep 1
echo "2" > /dev/console
sleep 1
echo "1" > /dev/console
sleep 1
/sbin/modprobe 8139too

/sbin/ifdown eth0
/sbin/ifup eth0
---- /etc/apm/resume.d/everything ----

Do not switch back to X autmatically in the resume-script as this will clutter up the screen with funny coloured dots and will require a reboot or at least another suspend.


Kernel 2.4

Once I tried ACPI. The fan would only run at every second boot or even less often (with all necessary modules loaded, of course). The CPU even got that hot that the laptop was switched automatically. After that I knew why I used APM. ;-)

Kernel 2.6

With a 2.6 kernel I don't have those problems when ACPI is compiled in the kernel, but it doesn't work neither.

Some interesting links:

TuxMobil - Linux on laptops, notebooks, PDAs and mobile phones

Compaq laptops at

Written 2004-11-08 - last update 2006-08-07

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Wolfgang Fuschlberger, Salzburg